Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Did President Obama Just Kill Immigration Reform?

Unlike many of my fellow conservatives, I favor comprehensive immigration reform that includes both securing our borders (and tracking visitors who overstay) and granting legal status to employed and otherwise law abiding illegal immigrants.  Sadly, president Obama may have just killed any chance of it passing.  Let me explain.

Last week, in of all things a blog post, the administration announced that it will not be enforcing the employer mandate portion of Obamacare until - surprise, surprise - after the 2014 elections.  Knowing this would be controversial  the blog was posted late last Wednesday - just before the 4 day weekend.

The reason for this postponement is blatantly political.  The mandate actually rewards employers who cut their employees hours to less than 30 per week.  Having apparently just figured this out (it must be one of the things in it Rep. Pelosi told us we would only know about after it passed), the administration acted to prevent massive Democratic losses in the 2014 mid-term elections.  Somehow, they thought that voters who had just had their hours cut because of Obamacare, might not vote Democratic........

Most of the discussion has focused on Obamacare and it's future - but another angle is: Did Pres. Obama have the legal authority to do this?

Article 2, Section 3 of the US Constitution states: "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed".  Nothing is the Obamacare law permits a president to postpone implementation of any part of the law.  (Remember, they did not know who would be president today when they passed the law.)  Effectively, Pres. Obama is ruling by decree, changing a major provision of a law passed by the Congress and signed into law by himself.  There is a word for a political leader who does this: Dictator.

Now, if you think this is a strong word, consider what the reaction would be if Romney had won last fall and simply said, "I am voiding Obamacare.  None of its' provisions will be enforced."  Get my point now?

So, how does this have anything to do with immigration reform?  Well, it's all about trust.  A huge part of the compromise involves securing the border and restricting newly legalized immigrants:

  • The border is supposed to be secured before any newly legalized persons get permanent status, much less citizenship.
  • Before receiving permanent status, these persons are supposed to "learn English".
  • These same people are supposed to pay fines.

These are just a few of the provisions that are under discussion.  There may be more.

The problem Pres. Obama has created in this: If he can effectively nullify a key provision in his own signature legislation, what prevents him from doing exactly all the same the same thing with the provisions of any immigration bill that becomes law?  Answer: Absolutely nothing.

In the House of Representatives Republicans, and even some Democrats, may be asking that very same question today. 

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